Date published: 
28 July 2020
Media event date: 
27 July 2020
Media type: 
Transcript
Audience: 
General public

DAVID KOCH:

Now, Victoria’s facing an aged care crisis, more than 500 coronavirus cases in the state are now linked to nursing home outbreaks, including seven of the 10 most recent deaths. For more, I'm joined by Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Nick Coatsworth. Nick, good to see you. Is the situation under control in Victoria or do you have fears for it?

NICK COATSWORTH:

Well, Kochie, we’re deeply concerned, of course, for what's going on in Victoria and aged care. My heart goes out to all the families down there who must be going through an immense amount of worry at the moment. I can reassure them that the establishment of the Victorian Aged Care Response Centre today, involving the highest levels of Government, will have an impact in bringing the situation under control in the coming days and weeks.

DAVID KOCH:

[Talks over] How? How will it bring it under control?

NICK COATSWORTH:

Well, we- well, Kochie, let's examine the situation here. We’ve got 260 aged care workers who have COVID-19, acquired from the community, most likely. That puts an incredible workforce burden on residential aged care, and that requires the sort of logistics that the ADF senior officers can provide, that senior emergency managers can provide, recruitment of staff from elsewhere in the health sector.

So, workforce alone is going to be one of the most significant things in making sure that people, people who don't have COVID, because there’s still a lot of highly dependent aged care residents who don't have COVID who need to be careful during these difficult times.

DAVID KOCH:

Yeah. Does the Federal Government need to just say, right, we’re going to take this area over, we’re not going to leave it up to the states, we’re going to have national regulations on this?

NICK COATSWORTH:

Kochie, there are national regulations. Let me tell you a personal story. My father died in 2012 from dementia, he’d been in three nursing homes. Knowing what I do about the aged care sector, how different those nursing homes were – dad was a wanderer, I can't imagine what he would have been like having to be confined or isolated or moved to a new facility.

The assumption, I think, that this can all be treated with one type of solution is not realistic, in terms of how the sector is. These facilities are different; they require tailored solutions; this is a challenging problem. But as I said, we’ve got the highest levels of Government working on it in the country.

DAVID KOCH:

Okay. Good point. A video has gone viral of a woman in Bunnings, refusing to wear a mask. Let's have a look.

            [Excerpt]

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER:

You’re not authorised by the Australian Government to even question me about it.

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER:

It's a condition of entry of our store [indistinct]…

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER:

Then that's discrimination, and I can have you sued personally for discriminating against me as a woman.

            [End of Excerpt]

DAVID KOCH:

There are so many of these, Nick, doing the rounds at the moment. Do you just shake your head? What do you say to people who post those sorts of videos?

NICK COATSWORTH:

Well, it’s such disturbing footage. I mean, you know, you’re posting footage of your interaction with a fellow Australian, a fellow citizen who’s just trying to do their job. I mean, we’ve really got to get real here and just have a little bit of self-control. If you don't like wearing a mask, you've got a very clear option - stay in your own home. But if you go out in greater Melbourne or Mitchell Shire, you need to be covering your face.

And this is something that we can all do, this is a partnership between Government, between community, between each other. We just need to do it.

DAVID KOCH:

Alright. Good to see you. Thank you for that.

NICK COATSWORTH:

Thanks Kochie.

Contact

Departmental media enquiries

Contact for members of the media

news [at] health.gov.au (subject: Media%20enquiry%20-%20News%20item%20ID13662, body: URL - https%3A%2F%2Fwww.health.gov.au%2Fnews%2Fdeputy-chief-medical-officer-interview-on-channel-7-sunrise-on-27-july-2020)

View contact